While India is mulling to ban cryptocurrencies, at least one-third of the US small and medium-sized companies currently accept cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services, according to a survey by Zogby Analytics and HSB Group, part of Munich Re.
The survey shows that 36% of small and mid-sized businesses accepted cryptocurrency, while 59% of those companies purchased cryptocurrency for their own use as well. In India, however, authorities and crypto entities have locked horns in a legal battle over RBI banning banking services to crypto entities.
Let’s take a look at the crypto fight in India and other news of the week!
Supreme Court To Hear Amit Bhardwaj’s Case February 4
Hearing the bail cancellation plea of Amit Bhardwaj and his brothers Ajay and Vivek Bhardwaj and his father Mahendra Kumar by Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other parties, Supreme Court has listed the matter for February 4, 2019, now.
Accused of one of the largest, Bitcoin-based GainBitcoin scam, Amit Bhardwaj has been out on bail since April, last year. However, Bhardwaj had earlier failed to deposit INR 10 Cr within the six months, as initially ordered by Supreme Court.
Bhardwaj who had deposited INR 6 Cr by December 18 was ordered to deposit the remaining sum of INR 4 Cr by March 31. “We make it clear that no further extension will be granted,” said the Court.
On Bhardwaj joining the investigation, advocate Deepak Prakash who is representing him at the Supreme Court told Inc42
“Amit Bhardwaj has been asked to appear at the Shalimar Bagh Police Station every Monday. However, because of his health condition, the Court has maintained that he can’t be taken outside Delhi.”
The ED Mumbai is investigating Bhardwaj’s case and wants the founder to join the investigation in Mumbai.
SC Pushes Cryptocurrency Case Hearing
In the long-pending cryptocurrency case, after hearing the Internet and Mobile Association of India’s (IAMAI) arguments for the last three days, the Supreme Court has set the next date of hearing on January 28, when other cryptocurrency petitioners too will start submitting their arguments.
Speaking to Inc42, advocate Jaideep Reddy, Nishith Desai Associates which is representing IAMAI, in this case, said,
“One round of arguments has been completed on both sides and the petitioners are currently in the middle of their rejoinder arguments. The matter will resume on Tuesday and may conclude then.”
It is to be noted here that RBI, on April 6, 2018, had told banks to withdraw all support services that were being extended to crypto entities. While dozens of crypto startups went to court, many others had to shut shop as banks stopped extending their services to these companies.
Crypto Money Laundering in 2019
Chainalysis has yet again come up with 2019 money laundering report in cryptocurrency. Over the course of the entire year, Chainalysis traced $2.8 Bn in Bitcoin that moved from criminal entities to exchanges.
Interestingly, over 50% of the money went to the top two exchanges — Binance and Huobi, claims the report.
“Overall, just over 300,000 individual accounts at Binance and Huobi received Bitcoin from criminal sources in 2019.”
Fidelity Investments’ Crypto Arm Forays Into Europe
One of the world’s leading financial services firms Fidelity Investments has established a new entity to serve European institutions investing in cryptocurrencies. The new arm called Fidelity Digital Assets will offer access to enterprise-quality custody and trade execution services for digital assets to investors such as hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries.
Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets said, “Since launching Fidelity Digital Assets in the US over a year ago, we’ve seen significant interest and engagement by the institutional community, which show no signs of slowing. We’re also encouraged by continued corporate and venture investment in market infrastructure companies as well as the entry of traditional exchanges into the digital assets ecosystem. These and other market indicators, alongside interest expressed from UK. and European client prospects, indicate a market with increasing potential which gives us the confidence to expand the digital assets business geographically.”